That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain


You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore


 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:


"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.


Just one video leak from an American battlefront in Iraq.


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

You really have to listen closely to what the US shooters say as their helicopter zeroes in on their Iraqi prey. More outrageous behavior lies beyond the video of these Americans murdering 12 Iraqis. The camera offers a bird’s eye view of the action—a gang of trigger-happy thugs hovering above a quiet Baghdad neighborhood. Machine guns blast.

The video is fascinating in itself, allowing us to view the targets through the crosshairs, real-time, of a genuine machine guns at work. The American helicopter circles and zooms in over its prey, circles, hovers zooms again.

Forget this (if you can). Listen instead to the US soldiers’ exchanges among one another: their obscene language, their laughter, the game they engage. Engage. Here, in our US war theater the word means ‘kill’. Kill anything wounded, anything in sight. Kill anything attempting humanitarian aid.

The entire episode we witness in this leaked 2007 tape is not really ‘war’. It is the record of a ‘hunt’. Hunt: as in ‘sport’.

More disturbing is the appearance of the prey walking across a street, totally unaware of being identified as targets of the impending massacre.

Repeated references to the Iraqis being armed at the early stages of the stalk seem contrived—an excuse for complete license. Later, all reference to weapons is set aside, replaced by questions of assurance that all signs of life have been eliminated.

Absolutely bloodthirsty, this team of Americans serving their country.

The predators are clearly enjoying themselves. It is as if they have been in sports training, now let loose, eager to practice their hunting skills. Their expressions of gratification, bordering on delight, is sickening.

Forget ‘rules of engagement’. Forget if this is being investigated by US military authorities. Forget which individuals are responsible. This is the way Americans view Iraqis. This is the result of their training. This is the ‘game’ of modern society and the education of our young, in countless internet and computer games about which we rarely raise questions.

Doubtless this one revelation is not isolated. Its only distinction is that it comes from one troubled, anonymous soldier who decided to share this particular record with the public.

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